Honda's return thwarted (in spanish)
Portugal's Helder Rodrigues wanted to be more than the companion Despres and Coma on the podium, as he had done the last two years. He won the World Rally Championship in 2011 and wanted to gain prominence in the Dakar in this edition. Not surprisingly, came riding a Honda, a CRF 450 Rally, developed especially for the return of the official Japanese team. But his reappearance in Dakar, 24 years later, has been more of a disaster. Rodrigues began to climb down the second day, the first of open desert. When rolling with the fourth fastest time, started having problems with gasoline and was forced to slow down to avoid running out of fuel before the end of the special. "I lost a lot of time," he recalls. He yielded to the winner ten minutes, Barreda. And he stayed with the 15th best time, not much. The worst thing is that faults have occurred since. Just a day after that the Portuguese, 33, returned to have problems with the fuel pump. On arrival in Nazca, had given another 25 minutes over Francisco Lopez, the best of the day. "In just two days the Dakar me more complicated than in recent years," conceded heartbroken.
"Then, little by little, I was recovering. And when I was skimming the podium I again had a breakdown and I lost everything, "he says. It was two days ago when a cable broke, the bike stopped and he lost 48 minutes to fix it: "The plan was to attack and I was doing. I was flying, had committed no error in navigation, was quick in rocky areas and in the dunes, "he recalled. But, again, something went wrong. Is disappointed. He aspired to much more and hoped that six months would be sufficient for a powerful factory as Honda. But that has not happened.
"It's all new. And this bike is very young. We need more time to develop the bike. In half a year we could not do it, we don't compete in the Dakar for a long time and we lack experience. Our first victory was to be at the start, in Lima, "said Katsumi Yamazaki, project leader for Honda Dakar, which was already the head of command when the factory winged competed from 1981 to 1989. In the 80 Honda won four titles. To return to winning they need more time, at least. "The Dakar is special. The tests can not play stages of 800 kilometers or about 600 special. We have gathered a lot of information and become stronger, "he adds. "We wanted to get on the podium, but it became impossible," says team manager, Henk Hellegers, frustrated, that does not hide the expectations that the project raised. What needs to improve? "Everything," says the Japanese. "You have to work on the durability of the bike", he assumes, aware of the significance that is if one is to be competitive in the Dakar. "You have to work hard. And in everything, "adds Rodrigues laconic.